Mario-style illustration with Sarah winning a fight with a creature over shark infested waters.

From zero to Octopus hero - Getting to know Octopus Deploy

Sarah Lean

My name is Sarah Lean and I recently joined Octopus Deploy as Senior Solutions Architect in the Community team.

I'm starting from scratch with Octopus Deploy, but I intend to go from zero to Octopus hero over the coming weeks.

This post is part 1 of a series about my learning journey with Octopus. We'll add links to other posts in the series as they become available.

What is Octopus Deploy?

Deploying software and infrastructure in your environment is something all software engineers need to do, whether we're running on-premises or cloud environments. Introducing automation into the process can help drive efficiency and consistency.

Octopus Deploy is a platform that helps customers accelerate repeatable, reliable, and traceable deployments across cloud and on-premises infrastructure.

Octopus Deploy's ability to handle software and infrastructure deployment makes it a great tool for developers, DevOps engineers, DevOps managers, and system administrators.

Getting to know Octopus Deploy

As a system administrator at heart, I'm always keen to learn how a product runs. Octopus Deploy allows you to set up your instance in several ways:

I've been working through installing Octopus Deploy from scratch.

It's been a great learning experience, getting hands-on with the technology, building the infrastructure, and building my knowledge along the way.

It's straightforward to install Octopus Deploy on a single server configuration and to set up a lab for learning purposes. However, I wanted to learn how customers run Octopus in a real-world scenario.

I spent time running Octopus Deploy in a highly available architecture in my environment. I looked at:

  • How to configure load balancers
  • Database high availability
  • Shared storage configurations

I had a few false starts because I assumed I knew what to do and didn't read the documentation.

Thankfully, when working with virtual machines you can delete them and start again when you make a mistake while learning a new product or concept. And I took advantage of that functionality!

My false starts taught me how important the Master Key is to your Octopus Deploy environment, and how to recover without a backup of your Key.

The Master Key is created on installation and is used with AES-128 to encrypt certain sensitive data in the Octopus database. Make sure you back it up and keep it somewhere safe.

It's a great feeling when you get something working and see the results of your work. I fist-pumped the air when I set up the configuration and could access my Octopus Deploy instance through the load balancer!

Lessons learned

Building and breaking my implementation helped enforce the concepts of deploying Octopus. I'm building my knowledge by working through exercises like this. I'm not an expert in high availability configurations, but I now understand the concepts and key points.

Another area that tripped me up was shared storage. This needs to be configured and checked before installing Octopus Deploy.

You can install Octopus Deploy without the shared storage being in place, but there will be some strange behavior if you do. Make sure you configure the shared storage and check it's operational before you start the install.

Next steps

I'm continuing to build my knowledge and have a plan for the coming weeks. I'll be learning the terminology that Octopus Deploy uses, setting up my first deployment, and becoming familiar with best practices.

I also want to know how to look after my Octopus Deploy implementation, how to handle complex deployments, and how Octopus integrates with other products.

Be sure to check back to see how I'm progressing. We'll add links to other posts in the series as they become available.

Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

Happy deployments!